Photo: Kevin Quick
Solar orbiter has launched from Cape Canaveral atop a ULA Atlas V rocket. The joint venture between NASA and the European Space Agency has been in the works for 10 years. The satellite will spend the next 2 years moving into position to orbit the sun to send back scientific data to help scientists on Earth understand and predict the volatile space weather caused by our Sun.
Solar Orbiter will join its brother, the Parker Solar probe. The satire will maintain a Sun Synchronous Orbit for 10 years photographing the sun and giving us data on the Heliosphere, a vast bubble of charged particles pushed by solar wind. Unlike Parker Solar Probe, Solar Orbiter will orbit near the suns poles, an area rarely studied.